Saturday, January 29, 2022

Kansas coach Bill Self on Kentucky defeat: ‘I’m not going to dwell on this’

Kansas players dismayed with the lopsided game, make their way back to the huddle during a timeout in the second half on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas players dismayed with the lopsided game, make their way back to the huddle during a timeout in the second half on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Bill Self has always been big on teaching. After Saturday night, the Kansas basketball coach may have found one of the best opportunities he'll have to do so this season.

The Jayhawks were defeated 80-62 at home by Kentucky in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, marking their second-worst home loss in Self's 19 years at KU. They failed to generate offense, could not rebound effectively and resorted to a variety of defensive schemes in the second half in a last-ditch attempt to climb back into the game.

There are fundamentals to refresh and drills to run, but the biggest lesson Self plans to impart upon his players will be a mental one.

Forget about it and move on.

"We may show a little bit of tape or something, but I'm not going to dwell on this to make it out bigger than it is," Self said. "I'm telling you, it's not in the big scheme of things."

In the Wildcats, the fifth-ranked Jayhawks (17-3, 6-1 Big 12) encountered an opponent that may be playing as well as any other in the country. An athletic, experienced team, 12th-ranked Kentucky (17-4, 6-2 SEC) provided the last nonconference foray for KU, a final measuring stick against an unfamiliar opponent before the cauldron of the Big 12 truly starts to heat up.

Although the outcome will surely have implications on Kansas' NCAA Tournament seeding, it's far too early to determine just how significant that will be.

The Jayhawks know what's most important is playing well and collecting wins against Big 12 competition through the first week of March.

"We've still got conference play in front of us," said junior Christian Braun, who, like senior Ochai Agbaji, scored 13 points to lead the team. "We've still got all the goals that we wanted. They're still available to us — to win (the conference title). But yeah, we've got to learn from this."

The road to a 20th Big 12 title won't be easy. Kansas will hit the road for a game Tuesday at 23rd-ranked Iowa State, which improved to 16-5 with a 67-50 home win against Missouri on Saturday. Fourth-ranked Baylor, which was upended at Alabama on Saturday, will be at Allen Fieldhouse next weekend.

A road game follows against Texas, which just dropped out of the Associated Press poll this week, and then there's the rematch against Oklahoma, which KU beat 67-64 behind Braun's late 3-pointer and free throws on Jan. 18.

According to ESPN's Basketball Power Index, the Jayhawks have the third-toughest schedule in the country remaining.

"The only thing we can do from this point on is go back to the drawing board, see what didn't work, see what was working at times in this game and really break down and analyze this game for Tuesday," Agbaji said.

And if some of KU's weaknesses can be addressed in the two days between games, Self will be pleased. That's because in his mind, they'll be back on track.

"I told our guys I'd much rather beat Iowa State than Kentucky," Self said. "Now, granted, we didn't have an opportunity to beat Kentucky. That was a one-sided affair tonight. But if this can somehow make us more hungry or more competitive for that game?

"You never want a loss to go to the point where it didn't teach you a lesson or cause something positive to come from it, and there's still that opportunity for that to happen."


Steve Zimmerman 5 months, 1 week ago

It's amazing how we're still leading B12. I guess that's what coach Self was trying to remind us fans. I'll be happier if we can move pass 2nd round of the tourney.

Bryce Landon 5 months ago

I completely disagree with Self's reaction to this. I think he and his guys SHOULD dwell on this. To hear him talk, you would think that he thinks playing Kentucky in late January is somehow beneath him. IT'S KENTUCKY, DAMN IT! He should have been as eager to play against them as the fans were eager to come and watch the game! I see now why Self's players were so uninspired in their "effort" against UK yesterday, because Self's mentality of "Beating Kentucky isn't really important" rubbed off on them. Self completely failed his players and the fans yesterday.

This serves as further evidence that Self should never have been allowed to have a lifetime contract, and that we need new leadership in charge of our basketball team, a coach who will take ALL opponents seriously, whether they belong to our conference or not.


Barry Weiss 5 months ago

This team will not reach its peak until DMac and Remy both start and Coach lets them play through their mistakes. Our upside is directly related to those two starting and performing well. To patch together some other starting line-up is basically giving up on us reaching our top and being satisfied with a lower goal.

Steve Zimmerman 5 months ago

Please cross DMac out of any of conversation. He's done. Reached his ceiling. Just have to accept the fact, he's in the team. I'm done criticizing him. I've lost hope on him.

Edward Daub 5 months ago

As John Wooden used to say "if you fail to prepare, you are preparing for failure"!

KU's coaches and players failed to be ready for the UK game, looking ahead to at ISU. Bill Self should start the teaching with himself and his assistants, then the players.

Bj Cassady 5 months ago

Like some teams practice with helmets and shoulder pads, get tough because we are not tough. We lack heart.

Chad Smith 5 months ago

against a team like kentucky, why not have two bigs in the game? that 4 out crap was not going to work against Kenucky cuz they are tall and athletic. Brooks was frequently being guarded by dajuan Harris. Brooks is 6'9 Juan is 6'1" that mismatch is obvious. we had to go to zone since we refused to play bigger players together in the game. know your matchup, but self CLEARLY did not care. which is really troubling to me considering a boatload of recruits were there and many more were probably watching the game. which program looked ready for the game and played with swagger and looked confident? it wasn't KU.

Thomas Harrison 5 months ago

We don’t have the personnel To have a championship season. Recruiting over the past 4 years has been marginal at best! We have look forward to 2023!

Daniel Kennamore 5 months ago

Why would he dwell on it? It's only the biggest non-con game on our schedule against a fellow blue-blood with number one total wins on the line. Big deal.

Just like letting programs like Florida, Villinova & UConn get more national titles during Self's tenure than he has won is somehow ignored cuz Self won conference titles in a collapsing conference.

Good thing we signed Self to a lifetime contract that swells faster than his waist-line...otherwise he might feel pressure to win games as hyped nationally as this.

Len Shaffer 5 months ago

The sky is falling, the sky is falling!!!!!

I know that people overreact to individual games, but this is ridiculous!!!

We're still 17-3, leading the toughest conference in the country, and will most likely still be ranked in the top 10. In addition to that, we're ranked high in most metrics in things like Ken Pom.

Was it a horrible and depressing game? Absolutely. Is the season over and is there no chance that we can win the title? Absolutely not.

Guys, it was one game. Yes, it was against Kentucky, and I hate UK as much as the rest of you, and dream of the day we pass them for number 1 in wins. But, again, it was ONE GAME!!!!!

We'll be fine, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if we dominate at ISU.

Michael Leiker 5 months ago

People watch the games, they see the level of play. It's not just a reaction to the UK game. This team look like a stretch to get to the second weekend.

Blake Brown 5 months ago

It's pretty easy to get on Self and some of the players and as bad as Saturday was, it's even easier; however, this is Jayhawk nation and we are passionate and informed and we know that our program is more than relevant year after year and we have something to appreciate and be proud of unlike almost all other programs. This is when we need to stay positive and project the best outcome for us in the conference, in the conference tournament and in the NCAA tournament and moving forward. There's 5 weeks of great Big Xll games remaining and lots of time for things come together. As Len says above, we will be fine. This is the time when we need to support our guys and the coaching staff and encourage them to do their best and give them some love when they need it the most. Isn't that really what we want? Rock Chalk!

W Keith Swinehart II 5 months ago

Learn from it and move on. We've got good players. We'll be fine. Big 12 focus. One game at a time.

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